review by Maryom
Most of us are to some extent aware of the infamous murderer known as Jack the Ripper even if, like me, most of your knowledge was gained through watching Whitechapel on TV! In 1888 he struck terror among the residents of the Whitechapel area of London with a series of gruesome killings. Despite the best efforts of Scotland Yard, no one was ever convicted of these murders, which has led over time to many theories about the identity of the killer. For the most part, researchers have assumed the murderer was a man but this book puts forward the idea that 'Jack' was in fact a woman.
John Morris' interest was piqued by another 'Jack the Ripper' book which suggested Sir John Williams, a famous highly-esteemed gynaecologist, as the murderer*. While intrigued by this theory, Morris wasn't convinced. His father, an enthusiastic amateur historian, had just finished researching Williams and he refused to believe that such a talented doctor would have turned into the horrific murderer. Together they set about sifting through all the evidence, theories and books about Jack the Ripper, eventually stumbling on a new possible identity for him.
Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman takes the reader through Morris' research and reasoning, following the victims on their last days to their unhappy meetings with Jack.
Not really knowing much about the facts surrounding the Ripper murders, I can't say how plausible Morris' ideas are in comparison to others put forward over the years. At times, when he showing his reasoning, I felt there was more than one interpretation that could be put on the facts.
The Hand of a Woman is certainly an interesting read but I suspect one that it raises as many questions as it answers.
* "Uncle Jack" by Tony Williams
Maryom's review - 3.5 stars
Publisher - Seren Books
Genre - Adult Non-Fiction, Crime
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